Construction Bid Writing: Avoiding Jargon and Unnecessary Technicalese
Writing in the language of your client or customer is not only a considerate manner in which to present a concept or proposal, it's also one that - all else being the best it can be - sends out a positive message.
When you communicate in words, phrases and terminology your customer organisation understands, you convey the fact that you understand and are familiar with their world and their operations - at least to the necessary degree.
Conversely, bid or similar documentation that is peppered with phraseology and jargon more meaningful to the bidder than to the prospect/customer, is a strong indication that that supplier or service provider is more self-focused than customer-focused. And that, of course, has a wide range of ongoing implications, none of which are positive.
Don't be clever; be easily understood
It also signals glaringly that the bidder doesn't stop to consider whether or not its communication is clear and easily interpreted by the receiving party. That too, is a conclusion you don't want your prime prospects to left with after reading your proposal.
Depending upon your industry and your audience, it may not be possible to eliminate jargon entirely from your bid documentation. It may be that there is certain terminology that forms the common language of your sector – and you not only can’t avoid it, you must speak to your prospects and clients/customers in that language.
In general, though, beware jargon. Err on the side of elimination.
And certainly avoid all internal jargon. Because this is such a common phenomenon, the following logic bears repeating:
This practice smacks of an internal focus; an inability to see from the client’s perspective.
Internal jargon smacks of an internal focus
Your use of your own internal jargon when speaking to or writing for a prospect or client – if it’s not familiar terminology to them – declares your self-centricity; an inward focus. Your imposition of your world upon theirs. Your expectation that they will conform to your language and thought processes. Client-centricity requires the opposite.
Jargon also makes for obscurity. It smacks of laziness and over-familiarity.
Finally, when it comes to “technicalese” (over-use of techno-speak), it’s likely that not all members of the prospect organisation’s evaluation team will be ‘technical’. Writing in too-technical terms will either alienate them or, at best, leave them behind. Remember: These people are the ones scoring your submission, and you want each one of them to award you maximum points. It helps if they can understand what they’re reading.
Jordan Kelly is a bid strategist, writer and coach/trainer. She is also the author of a range of how-to books on high-value bidding. Her books, along with a free subscription to her newsletter, 'The Bid Strategist', are available at www.bidstrategist.com
Apprenticeships can bridge skills gap says Autodesk director
The UK construction industry needs 216,800 new workers by 2025 to meet rising demand, according to the Construction Skills Network published by CITB.
Even before Covid-19, it was estimated it needs to attract 400,000 new recruits each year to meet the UK’s infrastructure needs.
But given one in three current construction employees are over 50 there is predicted to be a 20-25% decline in the available workforce over the next decade. And with end of the free movement of people from the EU, it has further limited access to skilled talent.
Mike Pettinella, Director, Autodesk Construction Solutions EMEA, believes the solution may be one that is hardly new, but might have taken a back seat during the pandemic.
"Apprenticeships could help us bridge the construction skills gap and meet this rapidly rising demand, and attract a new crop of younger talent to the industry," he said.
"Apprenticeships benefit everyone. For candidates, it’s an opportunity to learn valuable skills without incurring thousands of pounds of student debts. For employers, it’s a chance to train up employees in the competencies that are really needed – combining technical knowledge with collaboration and team work, which are equally important as you enter a new industry. And if you’re a larger company and already required to pay the apprenticeship levy, it makes sense to ensure you’re benefitting from the scheme too."
Marshall Construction recently took on nine new apprenticeships covering various roles. "Some of our previous apprentices have left and started their own businesses, which sets them up for life," said Chairman Robert Marshall. "Most of our current managers came from organic growth within the business whom we have trained to our own standards." Firms such as Barnwood Construction and Keepmoat Homes are also advertising and supporting apprenticeships.
According to the CSN, most English regions will experience an increase in construction workers by 2025, with East Midlands (1.7%) and West Midlands (1.4%) forecast to lead demand. Scotland (1.4%) and Wales (0.7%) are also predicted to fare well. The only region forecast to see a slight decline in workforce is the North East (-0.1%).
Major projects such as HS2 are driving growth in some regions and infrastructure (5.2%) and private housing (6.7%) should see the healthiest pace of expansion by 2025.
The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the future shape of work will be profound. Modelling by the McKinsey Global Institute on the effects of technology adoption on the UK workforce shows that up to 10 million people, or around 30 percent of all UK workers, may need to transition between occupations or skill levels by 2030.